goddamn you gut, i'm getting mixed messages.

The Thursday after my food poisoning, I was invited to an Indian restaurant for a lunch buffet: within a week I experienced the worst and then the best stimuli my gut can produce. It was delicious... anything 'Indian' I ate prior to this was not.
I don't have a lot for you; at some point, I got another "deep" post coming out... these are probably the least-loved scrawls I put up here. Judging at least from the webcounter (that I promised I wouldn't use, heh). After one of these rambles goes up, I watch the counter... no comments... average time online is 1:20 minutes. I don't time my reading, but that means roughly that people read halfway through my ramblings. Whatever. That last trilogy of posts, revolving roughly around the mechanical thought-processes of panoptic institutions... that wasn't all that fun to write. It's not my strength. It's just practice. Whatever. The next "deep" post is gonna be much different, if I can help it. Gotta let it stew some more though.
Me? I'm listening to Some Girls. Now, this band has some very important points in their favour: apparently, (1.)they are a hardcore "supergroup" just 'cos they got the bassist from The Locust, and the yeller from American Nightmare. I wasn't too taken with A.N., but whatever. At least they're not one of those goatee/shaved head/tank top "youth crew" bands... fuck, those guys are like army recruiters who've been laid off, and now. just. can't. let. go. (2.)They are the only band on Deathwish that don't have a skull on their album cover. (3.)Their preference for pink visuals and tight shirts tends to piss off said Youth Crew types. (4.)They write infinitely catchy, weird, crushing hardcore songs that run under two minutes each. I'm serious... oh lordy. Just like the old days of Minor Threat stuff... a fast, overdriven, pop song... if you like it, dance... because the song is over in forty-five seconds. If you don't like it, relax... it's over in forty-five seconds. See what I mean?
Okay, it's not like Minor Threat at all. Except in brevity and catchiness.

Senators reject visible pants fine
The committee chairman, Kenneth Stolle, described the bill as "a distraction".

Mr Howell was unrepentant.

He issued a statement which said his bill "was in direct response to a number of my constituents who found this to be a very important issue".

His constituents included customers at his barber's shop, who were highly offended by exposed underwear.

Mr Howell had also considered introducing bills to stop people slouching at the wheels of their cars.

Valentine's becomes day for activists
Across the country, teens from hundreds of schools and youth groups will make chastity pledges Monday on the ``Day of Purity'' - organized by the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group.

Cookie klatch lands girls in court.

A Durango judge Thursday awarded Young almost $900 to recoup her medical bills. She received nothing for pain and suffering.

"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said Thursday afternoon. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."

Young said she believes that the girls should not have been running from door to door late at night.

"Something bad could have happened to them," she said. (like getting sued?)

To quote Bill Hicks, that's what fundamentalism breeds: no irony. Wait: wasn't irony dead? Ha.
And I'm going to put this up, for the sake of knowing your enemy:
Don Eberly's conservative 'civil society.'
In the end, "people are either ruled by character and civility or they are ruled by cops and lawyers," Eberly concludes. "When social institutions and authority collapse and the capacity to govern human affairs through voluntary, consensual means erodes, all roads lead to the state.... A society in which atomized and poorly socialized individuals continually organize to use the state against each other is a society in which the individual and the state are advancing but civil society, a place of consensual and voluntary action, is in rapid retreat."

I got a perverse thought stuck in my head when I read about this guy: he would dig Marx's theories on alienation of the worker. Here's where politics as sports begins to break down: the uniforms all start to bleed in the washing machine... when the players come out onto the field, there's no blue team and no red team, just a bunch of guys wearing matching outfits of mauve...
Essentially the guy is appalled by the phenomenon of monoculture, of the dissolution of community bonds in the face of a rampant culture industry that advances personal greed and consumption over all else... of course i'm paraphrasing. And I'm using my codewords... monoculture, community, consumption... over his. But when I do so, he sounds exactly like an anti-globalization activist.
Eberly sees a "values crisis" in America and claims that it can only be addressed by Americans organizing "for social change outside the political process"; renewing the non-governmental sector of civil society, particularly the development of voluntary associations.

What libertarians have been unable to do (and a lot of activists!) up until this point is to separate the theory of capitalism from its practice. Capitalism was supposed to be an anarchistic solution to the problem of distribution... a response to the corruption inherent to the feudal system. The "natural law" of competition within the marketplace would stabilize the system and guard against the concentration of power and wealth. Remember: capitalism was meant to equalize and distribute power... not to distribute wealth equally, but to fairly distribute opportunity... and thus to impose a moral legitimacy on wealth, a meritocracy. Natural Law was supposed to eliminate monopolies of power.
And thus the left and right get stuck arguing (as we so often do) morality... we say poverty is immoral, and they say it must be fair, because if people didn't deserve it, they would be rich... due to equality of opportunity. But Capitalism has failed. Instead of distributing opportunity, it ultimately leads to monopoly, to "synergy"... Capitalism has never once functioned the way it's supposed to. Barring shocks to the system, power ends up conglomerating into corporations, into family dynasties with a corner on the market, a monopoly, a concentration of wealth that impedes the 'progress' of others... hey, isn't that the thing John Locke et al. was trying to avoid?
Why, yes... I believe it was. Whether you see the situation through our moral filter or theirs... capitalism has failed. The heart's dead, but the brain labours on... although the best argument you can get out of a capitalist these days is that it's 'better than the alternative'...
Eberly on the other hand, sees greater danger in the development of the welfare state: "The entire weight of sophisticated opinion – buttressed by every school of prestigious school of public policy in this nation – was that increasing segments of American society would steadily come under the managerial supervision of a credentialed, enlightened, bureaucratic elite." Well, yeah. I think there's a great danger in the establishment of a 'nanny state'... such a thing rules out the ecstasy of dangerous living as surely as the xenophobic "moral society" of Eberly's dreams, fixated on the threat of the freaks and queers, invading the streets and dancing at all hours of the night...
Or to take a local example, the continued failure of Toronto's government to deal with its homelessness... built into the welfare state is a thirst for moralism and punishment... the only solution made obvious to city council is more shelter beds. People tagged and identified, incarcerated in exchange for warmth... food in exchange for a lecture or a sermon... bedbugs rampant. 'The Carrot and the Stick.' You have to ask permission to open your own locker. Contrast that with OCAP's work... the true 'faith-based charity' that Eberly talks about, although he probably wouldn't approve of OCAP's brand of hard socialist faith... but it fits with his distinction of "ragtag local charities as the antithesis of the public administration state." He assumes that by 'value-based civil society', he means his values, his 'traditional' values. But there are a lot of values out there.
It's just interesting, is all I'm saying. Weird parallels between the 'left' and 'right.' But completely different flavours in your mouth. Imagine it were possible you could drop all the labels in the spitoon, and talk this over in a bar... you'd get a lot of impassioned arguments. But not the hysterics we have now. It's all very confusing, but that's okay... confused is the best thing you can be, because it's the only thing that's true.


At 4:34 p.m., Blogger Robert said...

eric, using the avg. time is a really bad way to calculate if peeps are reading your blog...eg. i come here and read a post in, say, 3-4 minutes...then i come back here 30 times until your next post...well, obviously my average time here is gonna be quite low, but ive actually read the post...see my point?

At 12:48 a.m., Blogger eric said...

too true. that damn webcounter can get a little too voyeuristic. it's what i was afraid of-- 'alive w/pleaure is 100% cookie-free... but how long until i start tracking your every move?!

in other news, i'm proud to award a winner in the browser wars... firefox beats out microsoft with 54% of the visits!!!!!!

...although it's possible those findings are a little skewed.


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